Serb IDs issued to Kosovo Serbs valid to enter Albania via Vrbnica crossing – but not Kosovo

While it is possible to enter Albania via the integrated Vrbnica-Morina crossing using Serbian IDs issued to Kosovo Serbs, the same cannot be said when it comes to entering Kosovo from Albania. On that side of the crossing, the passenger ID checks are carried by members of the Kosovo Police, who say that these ID cards are not valid.

Following our visit to Jarinje earlier this week where we confirmed in the field that the implementation of the new agreement between Belgrade and Pristina on freedom of movement is moving ahead without issues, as well as the information shared by activist Aleksandar Arsenijevic that it is still impossible to enter North Macedonia with Serbian IDs issued to Kosovo Serbs, the KoSSev team headed to Albania on Friday.

According to the ID agreement reached on August 27th, Belgrade undertook to cancel the „entry/exit“ documents for citizens entering Serbia proper with Kosovo documents, and Pristina not to issue such documents to Serbian ID holders. Serb officials have repeatedly highlighted that they “managed to preserve Serbian IDs for Kosovo Serbs,” and that every Serbian citizen living in Kosovo will be able to use Serbian IDs to move about freely “including through administrative crossings.”

Our goal was to verify whether we would be able to enter this country and return to the territory of Kosovo only using Serbian IDs issued to Kosovo Serbs.

At the integrated Vrbnica-Morina crossing, which is rarely busy, passenger ID checks are carried out by only one side, depending on the direction you are traveling.

When traveling to Albania, the ID check is carried out by Albanian police officers, while when travelling to Kosovo, the check is carried out by members of the KP.

Upon arrival at this crossing, before we entered Albania, we spoke with officers of both the Kosovo and Albanian border police.

After being kindly welcomed, they asked us to wait so they could check if we could enter Albania and return using these documents.

We were unofficially told that Albania „doesn’t have an issue with this identity card“, that is, that we can enter the country using the Serbian ID without any problems.

On the other hand, we received confirmation that we will not be able to return to Kosovo with this same ID and that we will also be issued a document stating that we are barred from entering.

After talking to officials, we entered Albania with our Serbian IDs.

On our return to Kosovo, we heeded their advice and showed Kosovan documents to members of the KP, after which we re-entered the territory of Kosovo without any problems.

Unlike Vrbnica and the Djeneral Jankovic crossing that leads to North Macedonia, holders of Serbian IDs issued to Kosovo Serbs can enter the territory of Kosovo with these IDs via the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings, and as we unofficially discovered – through the Merdare crossing as well.

By the time this news was published we did not receive an official answer either from the Ministry of the Interior of Kosovo or from the spokesperson of the Kosovo government on whether citizens with these identity cards can move freely south of the Ibar and use other crossings besides Jarinje and Brnjak?

The spokesperson of the government of Kosovo, Perparim Kryeziu, told us on Thursday that he would check with the Ministry of the Interior. Later that evening, Kryeziu said he was still waiting for „final clarification“, which has not arrived yet

 



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